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Case: Republic vs CA vs Molina

GR No 108763, February 13, 1997

Ponente: Panganiban, J.
The case takes place on August 16, 1990. Petitioner Roridel O. Molina filed a
verified petition for declaration of nullity of her marriage to Reynaldo Molina
stating the following:

The couple was married on April 14, 1985 (San Agustin Church Manila)
A year into marriage, Reynaldo showed signs of immaturity and
irresponsibility (both as husband and father)
Reynaldo was highly attached to his friends, squandering money over drinks
and other vices (seemingly living a bachelors life)
He highly depended on his parents for familial financial support

After unsettled feuds, Roridel resigned from her job in Manila and went to live with
her parents in Baguio, Shortly after, Reynaldo abandoned the family.
Issue/s: WON opposing and conflicting personalities and immaturity and
irresponsibility constitute Psychological Incapacity
Held: They dont. Marriage is still valid.
According to Justice Vitug in Leouel Santos vs CA, Psychological Incapacity refers to
mental incapacity. He also adds that such a concept is confined in most serious
cases of personality disorders clearly demonstrative of an utter insensitivity and
inability to give meaning and significance to the marriage. He laid down three
characteristics of Psychological Incapacity:
1. Gravity
2. Juridical Antecedence
3. Incurability
Stated grounds in the case are mere difficulties in marriage, involving refusal or
neglect of obligation. Not meeting their responsibilities is one thing, being
incapacitated is another. Clearly, the latter is not reflective in the case at hand.
Apart from ruling the said issues, the court decided to set standards in defining
Psychological Incapacity (Two Amici Curiae from Most Rev. Oscar Cruz NAMT &
Justice Ricardo Puno) as stated below:
1. Burden of proof to show nullity = on the petitioner
2. Cause of Psychological incapacity must be:
a. Medically/clinically identified
b. Alleged in Complaint
c. Sufficiently Proven by Experts
d. Clearly Explained in the Decision

3. Must be existing at the time of celebration of the marriage

4. Proven to be medically/clinically incurable
5. Grave enough to bring about disability to assume/fulfil essential marital
6. Said obligations are sourced from Art. 68-71 of FC + Art. 220, 221, & 225
7. National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal of the Catholic Church of the
Philippines must be accorded great respect even though they are not
generally controlling/decisive
8. OSG must appear as counsel for state

(1) The burden of proof to show the nullity of the marriage belongs to the plaintiff.
Any doubt should be resolved in favor of the existence and continuation of the
marriage and against its dissolution and nullity. This is rooted in the fact that both
our Constitution and our laws cherish the validity of marriage and unity of the
family. Thus, our Constitution devotes an entire Article on the Family, 11 recognizing
it "as the foundation of the nation." It decrees marriage as legally "inviolable,"
thereby protecting it from dissolution at the whim of the parties. Both the family
and marriage are to be "protected" by the state.
The Family Code 12 echoes this constitutional edict on marriage and the family and
emphasizes the permanence, inviolability and solidarity
(2) The root cause of the psychological incapacity must be (a) medically or clinically
identified, (b) alleged in the complaint, (c) sufficiently proven by experts and (d)
clearly explained in the decision. Article 36 of the Family Code requires that the
incapacity must be psychological not physical. although its manifestations and/or
symptoms may be physical. The evidence must convince the court that the parties,
or one of them, was mentally or physically ill to such an extent that the person
could not have known the obligations he was assuming, or knowing them, could not
have given valid assumption thereof. Although no example of such incapacity need
be given here so as not to limit the application of the provision under the principle
of ejusdem generis, 13 nevertheless such root cause must be identified as a
psychological illness and its incapacitating nature explained. Expert evidence may
be given qualified psychiatrist and clinical psychologists.
(3) The incapacity must be proven to be existing at "the time of the celebration" of
the marriage. The evidence must show that the illness was existing when the
parties exchanged their "I do's." The manifestation of the illness need not be
perceivable at such time, but the illness itself must have attached at such moment,
or prior thereto.
(4) Such incapacity must also be shown to be medically or clinically permanent or
incurable. Such incurability may be absolute or even relative only in regard to the
other spouse, not necessarily absolutely against everyone of the same sex.
Furthermore, such incapacity must be relevant to the assumption of marriage
obligations, not necessarily to those not related to marriage, like the exercise of a

profession or employment in a job. Hence, a pediatrician may be effective in

diagnosing illnesses of children and prescribing medicine to cure them but may not
be psychologically capacitated to procreate, bear and raise his/her own children as
an essential obligation of marriage.
(5) Such illness must be grave enough to bring about the disability of the party to
assume the essential obligations of marriage. Thus, "mild characteriological
peculiarities, mood changes, occasional emotional outbursts" cannot be accepted
as root causes. The illness must be shown as downright incapacity or inability, nor a
refusal, neglect or difficulty, much less ill will. In other words, there is a natal or
supervening disabling factor in the person, an adverse integral element in the
personality structure that effectively incapacitates the person from really accepting
and thereby complying with the obligations essential to marriage.
(6) The essential marital obligations must be those embraced by Articles 68 up to
71 of the Family Code as regards the husband and wife as well as Articles 220, 221
and 225 of the same Code in regard to parents and their children. Such noncomplied marital obligation(s) must also be stated in the petition, proven by
evidence and included in the text of the decision.
(7) Interpretations given by the National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal of the
Catholic Church in the Philippines, while not controlling or decisive, should be given
great respect by our courts. It is clear that Article 36 was taken by the Family Code
Revision Committee from Canon 1095 of the New Code of Canon Law, which
became effective in 1983 and which provides:
The following are incapable of contracting marriage: Those who
are unable to assume the essential obligations of marriage due
to causes of psychological nature. 14
Since the purpose of including such provision in our Family Code is to harmonize
our civil laws with the religious faith of our people, it stands to reason that to
achieve such harmonization, great persuasive weight should be given to decision of
such appellate tribunal. Ideally subject to our law on evidence what is decreed
as canonically invalid should also be decreed civilly void.
This is one instance where, in view of the evident source and purpose of the Family
Code provision, contemporaneous religious interpretation is to be given persuasive
effect. Here, the State and the Church while remaining independent, separate
and apart from each other shall walk together in synodal cadence towards the
same goal of protecting and cherishing marriage and the family as the inviolable
base of the nation.
(8) The trial court must order the prosecuting attorney or fiscal and the Solicitor
General to appear as counsel for the state. No decision shall he handed down
unless the Solicitor General issues a certification, which will be quoted in the
decision, briefly staring therein his reasons for his agreement or opposition, as the
case may be, to the petition. The Solicitor General, along with the prosecuting
attorney, shall submit to the court such certification within fifteen (15) days from

the date the case is deemed submitted for resolution of the court. The Solicitor
General shall discharge the equivalent function of the defensor vinculi
contemplated under Canon 1095.